Bogota December 10, 2013.
Mr. Juan Manuel Santos Calderon
President of the Republic
Mr. Rodrigo Londono Echeverry
High Command
Mr. Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista
Central Command
National Liberation Army (Ejercito de Liberación Nacional)

The undersigned organizations fully support the peace negotiations currently taking place between the Colombian government and FARC-EP, as well as future negotiations involving the National Liberation Army (hereafter ELN).

We write to you on International Human Rights Day, from diverse social sectors, representing unions, artists, journalists, agricultural leaders, indigenous communities, Afro-Colombians, women, youth, students, business leaders, human rights defenders, and political and religious organizations, to ask that you recognize your social obligation, to pursue our individual and collective right to peace, and to express our commitment to a negotiated, political solution to the armed conflict from which Colombia has suffered for more than half a century. The undersigned organizations have decide to come together to seize this historic opportunity to bring together the Colombian people.

According to figures from the official National Historical Memory Center, which underestimate the full extent of atrocities committed in Colombia, in the past 54 years 220,000 people have been murdered, 16,340 have been the victims of targeted assassinations, 1,982 massacres have been perpetrated, 25,007 people have been detained then disappeared, 27,023 have been kidnapped, and 5,712,506 have been forcibly displaced from their land, all of which is due directly or indirectly to the internal armed conflict. These figures do not include the more than seven million Colombians who have left the country to escape the war or seek better opportunities than the country has to offer.

The costs of war exceed the 26 billion pesos used for security and defense in 2013. Military spending is equal to spending for health care, education and sanitation combined. Of approximately 600,000 central government employees, 515,000 are allocated to the Defense Ministry. In other words, 81.2% of personnel funding is allocated to defense.

Mr. President, your two-pronged strategy of negotiating while continuing to carry out military offensives against the insurgency in order to weaken their bargaining power is counterproductive. One result is that the citizens of Colombia, who are the primary constituents standing to benefit from and endorse the agreements, distrust the process. In addition, those who benefit from this war are taking advantage of this situation in order to strengthen an electoral option that would oppose the peace process.

Therefore we call on you to bring an end to war and to ensure, as a result of the negotiation process, that those who bear arms today are able, through their proposals and ideas, to work with the rest of the country’s citizens to develop new political expressions that will nurture democracy.

We welcome the recent political agreement reached in Havana that establishes specific scenarios and guarantees for the promotion of democratic participation in Colombia. However, we call for an immediate initiation of official and formal negotiations with the ELN, which has repeatedly expressed its willingness to negotiate a political solution to armed confrontation, as, for example, recently during the Sixth Congress of Redunipaz.

We ask those who continue to support the war to reflect on their historic responsibility in this process and to discontinue the use of anti-peace rhetoric as an electoral strategy. We ask that those who have committed crimes in the context of the internal armed conflict, and do not wish to be tried in an ordinary or international tribunal, to contribute to peace in Colombia by participating in a special transitional justice program.

For all the above reasons we address this open letter to you and respectfully request:

-A bilateral ceasefire from December 10th to August 7th, with monitoring provided by the United Nations, human rights organizations and coalitions that support the peace process.

-The immediate initiation of formal negotiations with the ELN and EPL, with similar demands for a bilateral ceasefire.

We respectfully request of the government that it

-develop a comprehensive policy to prevent the activities of newly organized paramilitary forces organized crime.

-purge the Armed Forces and National Police of those individuals who undermine the peace process and respect for human rights, and/or support new manifestations of paramilitary activity.

-replace the minister of defense with an individual who will commit the Armed Forces to full support for the peace process, and ensure that any bilateral ceasefire agreed upon will be respected.

-decriminalize protests and social mobilization, and withdraw the proposed law that would increase penalties for such crimes.

We also respectfully request of both government and insurgents that they

-ensure that the victims of the conflict are able to participate in the negotiation process and that their rights are respected.

-facilitate effective programs that allow for the meaningful participation of civil society in the peace process, and take into consideration social agendas for peace that have been constructed by diverse sectors of the Colombian social-justice movement.

Furthermore, we request of the insurgency that it

– cease all aggressive military activity, including attacks against the country’s infrastructure and civilian populations.

– cease forced recruitment, especially of minors.

-discontinue the use of anti-personnel landmines and conduct demining programs in all affected communities.

Because peace is a matter that concerns us all, we pledge to increase and strengthen our efforts to achieve peace with social justice and hope that your response will be consistent with this objective.


Organizaciones internacionales

-Unión Sindical de Trabajadores de Guatemala – Unsitragua Histórica
-Iniciativa Solidaria Internacionalista de Burgos (Estado Español)
-Latín América Working Group – Estados Unidos
-Fellowship of Reconciliation – Estados Unidos
-United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries – Estados Unidos

Organizaciones sindicales

-Central Unitaria de Trabajadores – CUT
-Confederación de Trabajadores de Colombia – CTC
-Unión Sindical Obrera-USO
-Federación Colombiana de Trabajadores de la Educación – FECODE
-Asociación Distrital de Educadores – ADE
-Asociación Nacional Sindical de Trabajadores y Servidores Públicos de la Salud, Seguridad Social Integral y Servicios Complementarios de Colombia – Anthoc
-Subdirectiva CUT – Valle
-Subdirectiva CUT – Bogotá/Cundinamarca
-Subdirectiva CUT – Atlántico

Organizaciones campesinas, indígenas y afrodescendientes

-Federación Nacional Sindical Unitaria Agropecuaria – Fensuagro
-Asociación Departamental de Usuarios Campesinos de Cundinamarca – ADUC
-Asociación de Organizaciones Campesinas y Populares de Colombia “El Común”
-Unión de Organizaciones Afrocaucanas – Uoafroc
-Fundación Rostros y Huellas del Sentir Humano Garifuna (Buenaventura)
-Movimiento Nacional Cimarrón
-Asociación Cultural Casa del Niño-Villa Rica (Cauca)

Redes y organizaciones de derechos humanos y paz

-Colectivo de Abogados “José Alvear Restrepo”
-Ruta Social Común por la Paz
-Red de Iniciativas por la Paz y Contra la Guerra –Redepaz
-Red de Universidades por la Paz – Redunipaz
-Fundación Alianza Universal por la Paz -Univerpaz
-Movimiento de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado – Movice
-Corporación Viva la Ciudadanía
-Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos – CPDH
-Corporación Podion
-Fundación Podion
-Fundación Mencoldes
-Instituto Sindical de Cooperación al Desarrollo, Iscod, Colombia
-Asociación Nacional de Ayuda Solidaria – Andas
-Asamblea Permanente de la Sociedad Civil por la Paz
-Corporación Com-Unidad (Neiva)
-Asociación para la Promoción del Desarrollo Integral del Caribe Aprodic (Cartagena)
-Corporación Tiempos de Vida (Magangué)
-Fundación Infancia Feliz (Barranquilla)
-Corporación Desarrollo Solidario C.D.S. (Cartagena)
-Asociación Santa Rita para la Educación y Promoción Funsarep (Cartagena)
-Fundación Comando de los Sueños (Sevilla, Valle)
-Corporación Red de Promotores de DD.HH. y D.I.H. (Neiva)
-Programa Pedagogía de Paz – Universidad Pedagógica Nacional
-Corporación para la Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos-Reiniciar
-Fundación Foro Nacional por Colombia
-Mesa Ecuménica por la Paz
-Corporación Claretiana Norman Pérez Bello
-Fundación Creciendo Unidos
-La Fundación Mujer y Futuro
-Departamento de Mujeres de la Coordinación Nacional de Desplazados – CND
-La Fundación Centro de Promoción -Ceprod
-Corporación Asesorías para el Desarrollo Asdes
-Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Mujer – Fundemujer (Buenaventura)
-Corporación de Pensamiento Democrático Ciudad y Territorio

Instituciones de iglesia y religiones

-Vicaría del Sur – Diócesis de Florencia (Caquetá)
-Pastoral Social de la Diócesis de Montelíbano (Córdoba)
-Movimiento Franciscano por la Paz

Organizaciones estudiantiles

-Asociación Colombiana de Estudiantes Universitarios – Aceu
-Asociación Nacional de Estudiantes de Secundaria – Andes

Organizaciones políticas y sociales

-Coalición de Movimientos y Organizaciones Sociales de Colombia, Comosoc
-Congreso de los Pueblos
-Coordinación de Movimientos Sociales y Políticos
-Partido Comunista Colombiano – PCC
-Observatorio Colombiano de Políticas Públicas –Ocopolis
-Poder y Unidad Popular – PUP

Líderes políticos

-Iván Cepeda Castro
-Alirio Uribe Muñoz
-Carlos Lozano Guillén

-Intelectuales, periodistas, escritores y artistas

-Gabriel Izquierdo Maldonado, s.j.
-Alfredo Molano Bravo

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